Writing a book is no mean feat, and using every tool available to help you is advisable. While we are always bombarded with statistics about how much competition there is out there, it’s worth remembering there are far more people who start to write a book and never finish it than those that complete and publish their work.
So if you don’t want to be one of those would-be writers who always wanted to write a book but never got around to it, you need to find a method that helps keep you organized a motivated.
The Snowflake method is one invited by Mr Randy Ingermanson. His profession was a theoretical physicist. However, he changed his course when he suddenly found himself writing a historical suspense novel. It took him more than ten years to complete his book and finally get it published. He published an article on his website about how he developed his novel, and this became so popular that he started to teach it himself.
So what is the snowflake method?
Snowflakes have a particularly interesting way of forming. First, a droplet freezes to a dust particle, which results in an ice crystal. As this moves, more water vapor freezes to its edges, growing and growing to create the unique structure of a snowflake bit by bit.
For Randy, that initial droplet is the premise, and you build on your story from there.
Putting the snowflake method into practice.
To follow this method, work through the following steps.
Write a one-sentence summary in 15 words or less that describes the premise of your book.
Write a paragraph that describes the setup. Take about five sentences to explain how your story begins, the conflict and disasters that occur along the way, and the conclusion or outcome.
Introduce the characters. Make a cast list of characters, including their name, motivation, goal, and internal and external conflicts and challenges. You can tinker with these as time goes on.
Write your one-page summary. Start to flesh out the story structure by turning each sentence of your once paragraph description into a paragraph of its own.
Create character stories
Now it’s time to work on your characters at a more in-depth level. They each need a one-page synopsis where you tell the story through their eyes.
Write your synopsis
Write a detailed synopsis of your story and how each character threads and weaves into the others. Use this to go back and make adjustments accordingly in the previous steps.
Expand your cast of characters
Make detailed character stories, create their backstories, ask them questions, and get to know them inside out. Include every detail you can think of until you know them like you’d know an old friend.
Create and expand your scenes
Now use a spreadsheet to note down each scene in your novel. You can use a single line for each stage at first but then begin to flesh these out.
Only now is it time to start writing your book. However, you should find that the process is so much quicker, thanks to all the prep work you have done. You’ve already made a lot of decisions and know your characters and what they are going to do so well that the words should flow much more quickly.
The snowflake method is a fantastic way to start writing a book from scratch, but you can also use it even if you have already begun to make for a better, more compelling story in the long run. Why not give it a try?
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